Low-cost monoclonal antibodies: AMECRYS project now underway
To drastically reduce the industrial manufacturing costs of monoclonal antibodies means to considerably reduce healthcare expenditure for treatments and diagnostics based on this type of antibodies. The objective of the European project called AMECRYS (Revolutionising Downstream Processing of Monoclonal Antibodies by Continuous Template-Assisted Membrane Crystallization), coordinated by Gianluca Di Profio from the National Research Council (CNR), is to revolutionize the current standards of industrial manufacturing of monoclonal antibodies, through a process that separates and purifies biological macromolecules directly in their culture broth.
AMECRYS is one of the 11 research projects funded by the European Commission out of 800 proposals received under Horizon 2020 Future Emerging Technologies, the European funding scheme of the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation to support the most “visionary” research ideas which can potentially generate a strong economic and social impact.
The project has received an overall funding of approximately 3.5 million euro over four years and involves nine partners: besides the Italian CNR, the French Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), the University of Calabria, the Imperial College of London, the Strathclyde University of Glasgow and the Free University of Brussels, together with three leading biotech companies that are the British Centre for Processing Innovation, the Italian GVS Filter Technology, one of the most important membrane and filters manufacturers worldwide, and the British Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, a supplier of biological macromolecules and services for pharmaceutical companies.
The study will be mainly conducted on anti-CD20 (RITUXAN) monoclonal antibody used for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. If successful, the study will reduce the production costs of this antibody by approximately 60%.
The Italian CNR will participate in the project with three Institutes: Institute on Membrane Technology (CNR-ITM), Crystallography Institute (CNR-IC) and Institute for Calculation Applications (CNR-IAC). The project idea, extremely innovative and ambitious, stems from a pluriannual collaboration between the CNR-ITM team of Gianluca Di Profio and the CNR-IC team of Rocco Caliandro, which has led to the publication of a number of articles published in high-impact journals, such as Crystal Growth & Design, Advanced Functional Materials and Advanced Materials.